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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my rescues, rex, has some swelling in both his rear legs from about the fetlock down. We just have begun a refeeding program for him because he is so underweight. He gets 2 cups sweet feed 3 cups of omolene 400 (foal grain reccomended by our vet for him) and some alfalfa cubes all soaked and mixed together. He is not stalled and has free run of the pasture so i'm not sure what could be causing him to stock up. Also, hes unbroke and to weak to excersize so I'm unable to reduce the swelling that way. Is the swelling something I should worry about? Perhaps I should change something in his diet or will it just go away? thanks!
 

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Do you feed him all at once or do you give him breakfast and dinner?<br><br><br><br>
I'd also be concerned that is way too much protein feed and he may need more roughage (grass hay).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
he only gets one meal a day. I live 15 miles away from where i keep him so I only get a chance to feed him once.<br><br>
He has free choice of grass hay all day/night along with whatever pasture is left at this time of the year.
 

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I just asked my dad what he thinks, and he's not sure, but he's gonna ask one of his friends (a horse expert) tomorrow about what she thinks. How long has this been going on? Have you asked the vet about the problem? What'd all did they say? Do you know the horses history?<br><br><br><br>
ETA: My dad is going to ask his friend when he gets to work, and he's gonna e-mail me what she thinks, so when I get online tomorrow I'll post what she says.
 

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All that in one meal sounds like an awful lot to me (although nearly all the horses I know are on a fairly minimal amount of feed, so perhaps its not as unusual as I think), but particularly if the foal mix is high protein and he's previously been unused to hard feed, he could be having problems dealing with it all. Am not sure that the problem you describe is necessarily likely to be the first sign of a problem though, would have expected collicy symptoms and maybe "tying up" (although less likely to show up as not exercised) rather than fetlock swelling. If you really think its food related (and for the general health of the horse's digestion) it might be worth investing in one of those feeder ball things that they have to kick around to get food out, to break the meal up a bit (although that wouldnt work for any part of the meal that needs to be served wet). Does anyone else keep horses where you keep him? If so perhaps you could pre-mix feeds and they could wet them and put them in for you during the day so he is on 3 small meals rather than the one big one.<br><br><br><br>
Re: the leg swelling, does the area seem tender or hot? Are there any scrapes, scabbing or sign of hair loss? You dont give much information about what his living situation is, but has he gone from a soft field to constantly being stabled on a concrete floor? or does he have more turnout now than he used to? I would be looking for evidence of knocks and sprains on the leg before I tried to link it with a food thing.
 

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Here's what my dad's friend wrote me back, hopefully there's some useful info:<br><br><br><br>
There are lots of things that can be causing the swelling. And without knowing the horses age or other contributing factors, it's kind of hard to say. One scenario with malnourished horses is that some horses, when starved and malnourished can contact Cushings Disease which causes swelling in the legs as well. These horses, for some reason develop longer shaggy hair, muscle weakness and can have pain in the hooves and leg areas. But that's only one scenario.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
If he is not experiencing any pain in the hooves, that's a good sign (means it probably not founder, which usually occurs in the front hooves as well as the rear, founder is usually contributed to the horse over-eating grain or sweet feeds).<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Another thought is, since the swelling is located on his rear legs and not the front, the swelling may be similar to water weight gain, Though this can be caused by a number of things, one thought is that the diet he is on now, is too "hot." If he was not used to eating a proper diet, too much of a good thing can actually be bad for him. Although the vet recommended the foal mixture, he may be getting too much of a dose of the protein and vitamins too soon, it should be more of a gradual build up. Depending on age, it can affect horses differently. With older horses, if they try to gain weight too fast, they can develop problems with their kidneys, lungs and heart, which in turn can cause swelling and water weight gain in the leg areas, usually knees and lower (in some cases, it can also cause heart failure).<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Mainly bring them along slowly. Naturally hay (not alfalfa) and pasture are necessary, but you can also begin using a feed like Strategy (has protein and all, but isn't as "hot" as the sweet feed and alfalfa). After he shows signs of improvement, you could try switching to a small amount of oats twice each day for his grain (maybe 1/2 lb. each feeding and increase gradually over a couple of months), this along with the pasture and hay (not alfalfa) should keep him a happy camper.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Although he may too weak for exercising, you could but a halter on him and lead him around, even if he only walks, it can do him some good (mentally as well as physically).<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
I think it's great you rescue horses. Though I have a couple horses of my own, I am still learning about them as well, and with a mare in foal, guess I'll be learning a little more. Hope all works out well for you and Rex.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the responses everyone!<br><br>
Since everyone wanted more of his history I'll tell you everything I know...<br><br>
Rex was rescued from a amish family who pretty much ran him into the ground (hes only 4) the rescue group I work with bought him from a slaughter auction half dead. When they got him home and started to try to refeed him everything that he would eat would come back out his nose. They eventually sent him to the university for testing. They checked out his whole digestive system and found that he was so weak part of his thraot wasnt working and was causing his food to come back up. So he was put on a feeding tube until he regained some strength. He was about 400 lbs underweight. shortly after I adopted him and was told just to put him on pasture so he could gain his remaining amoutn of weight.<br><br>
but then a few months ago he came down with an upper respitory infection and lost a bunch of weight. Hes gotten over the infection but still needs to put on weight.<br><br><br><br>
And thats about all I know about him. As far as the swelling, I know its not from and injury. Ive seen other peoples horses stocked up before and know what it looks like. The swelling dosent feel hot and dosent seem to be painful to him when i touch it.<br><br><br><br>
He just saw the farrier and so I'm pretty postive hes not fondering.<br><br><br><br>
Ive seen Cushings before and have pretty much ruled that out.<br><br><br><br>
As far as his feeding goes hes only on the alfalfa cubes and not straight alfalfa hay. (he gets about 5 of them in his feed) the sweet feed is just because he wont eat the foal feed by itself. and we put him on such a hot feed to give him some extra energy since he is not a hot horse at all. We started the feeding out slow and his vet wants us to work up to about 7lbs a day.<br><br><br><br>
He does get some excersize..hes my "helper" and likes to follow me around while I'm breaking my 5 others.<br><br><br><br>
I dont know if any of that will help but thanks ahead of time for any suggestions.<br><br><br><br>
I added a photo of the skinny man<br><a href="http://cdn.veggieboards.com/7/74/74b0b5da_vbattach4850.jpeg"><img alt="LL" src="http://cdn.veggieboards.com/7/74/525x525px-LL-74b0b5da_vbattach4850.jpeg" style="width:408px;height:308px;"></a>
 

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<b>I sent my dad's friend your last post, and this is how she replied:</b><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Considering Rex's age and especially the considerable weight loss, he could have suffered some damage to some of his internal organs, possibly his kidneys. This could be causing the swelling due to water retention.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
The respiratory infection didn't help the little guy any that's for sure. But that could be why he began to stock up now, his body was too busy fighting off the infection, it took away any healing process that could have been going to his kidneys or other organs. Thus the water retention at this time.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
You can get some electrolytes for his water and try to get him to drink as much as possible (I know... you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink), but the electrolytes will help with urination and so forth.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Sounds like his feeding regime is okay. You may consider squirting a large syringe (25 cc) full of black strap molasses into his mouth each day. The molasses not only helps boost his energy, it gives their coat a shiny appearance, and apparently gives them something similar to the munchies, so they eat better. You can also add either calf-manna or a powdered milk replacement to his daily diet, which should help him with establishing his weight.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
All-in all though, keep doing what you're doing with everything, and hopefully he should begin to recover like he should.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>nowoutonvinyl</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Thanks for the responses everyone!<br><br>
Since everyone wanted more of his history I'll tell you everything I know...<br><br>
Rex was rescued from a amish family who pretty much ran him into the ground (hes only 4) the rescue group I work with bought him from a slaughter auction half dead. When they got him home and started to try to refeed him everything that he would eat would come back out his nose. They eventually sent him to the university for testing. They checked out his whole digestive system and found that he was so weak part of his thraot wasnt working and was causing his food to come back up. So he was put on a feeding tube until he regained some strength. He was about 400 lbs underweight. shortly after I adopted him and was told just to put him on pasture so he could gain his remaining amoutn of weight.<br><br>
but then a few months ago he came down with an upper respitory infection and lost a bunch of weight. Hes gotten over the infection but still needs to put on weight.<br><br><br><br>
And thats about all I know about him. As far as the swelling, I know its not from and injury. Ive seen other peoples horses stocked up before and know what it looks like. The swelling dosent feel hot and dosent seem to be painful to him when i touch it.<br><br><br><br>
He just saw the farrier and so I'm pretty postive hes not fondering.<br><br><br><br>
Ive seen Cushings before and have pretty much ruled that out.<br><br><br><br>
As far as his feeding goes hes only on the alfalfa cubes and not straight alfalfa hay. (he gets about 5 of them in his feed) the sweet feed is just because he wont eat the foal feed by itself. and we put him on such a hot feed to give him some extra energy since he is not a hot horse at all. We started the feeding out slow and his vet wants us to work up to about 7lbs a day.<br><br><br><br>
He does get some excersize..hes my "helper" and likes to follow me around while I'm breaking my 5 others.<br><br><br><br>
I dont know if any of that will help but thanks ahead of time for any suggestions.<br><br><br><br>
I added a photo of the skinny man</div>
</div>
<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Oh, he is so cute...poor guy. He is lucky to have found you! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smitten.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":smitten:">
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Keelin</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Before dissecting his feeding regime, have you tried cold-hosing, wrapping, and/or using linament?</div>
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Ive considered cold hosing but due to how cold it is here I wasnt sure if I should. My experience with standing wraps is that the legs become dependent on them. Plus, I dont have a stall to keep him in with wraps on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MZCsmpsns</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><b>I sent my dad's friend your last post, and this is how she replied:</b><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Considering Rex's age and especially the considerable weight loss, he could have suffered some damage to some of his internal organs, possibly his kidneys. This could be causing the swelling due to water retention.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
The respiratory infection didn't help the little guy any that's for sure. But that could be why he began to stock up now, his body was too busy fighting off the infection, it took away any healing process that could have been going to his kidneys or other organs. Thus the water retention at this time.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
You can get some electrolytes for his water and try to get him to drink as much as possible (I know... you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink), but the electrolytes will help with urination and so forth.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Sounds like his feeding regime is okay. You may consider squirting a large syringe (25 cc) full of black strap molasses into his mouth each day. The molasses not only helps boost his energy, it gives their coat a shiny appearance, and apparently gives them something similar to the munchies, so they eat better. You can also add either calf-manna or a powdered milk replacement to his daily diet, which should help him with establishing his weight.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
All-in all though, keep doing what you're doing with everything, and hopefully he should begin to recover like he should.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
MZCsmpsns, thank you so much for taking the time to pass my post on to your friend...and please thank her for the advice. I'm going to be looking into her suggestions and I'll post an update on how things go.
 

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I've kept my horse wrapped several times while he was injured or to bring down swelling, and he hasn't become dependent on them. However, you are correct that wrapping him while he is turned out isn't an ideal situation.<br><br><br><br>
In my experience, it's perfectly fine to cold-hose while the weather is poor. Just be especially careful to completely dry the area before turning him back out. You also may want to put a rug or cooler on him while hosing, to prevent chilling. Linament (ie. Mineral Ice or similar; I believe the effective ones are usually menthol-based or similar?) is a good alternative if you're wary about cold-hosing (although I don't think you have any reason to be, that would definitely be my first response!).<br><br><br><br>
Re: black-strap molasses, you can probably avoid the hastle of forcing it out through a syringe by mixing it into his feed. Try it once with a bit of grain or beet pulp to see if he'll take to it. Speaking of beet pulp (I didn't notice if you mentioned it earlier?), it is a great feed for putting on weight because it is so easily palatable for horses (although you'll want to watch their calcium<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p">hosphorus ratio if you feed it in very large quantities).<br><br><br><br>
Another great alternative to molasses is flaxseed or corn oil (about 1/4-1/2 cup per day) added to their feed.<br><br><br><br>
Good luck sorting him out!
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>nowoutonvinyl</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
MZCsmpsns, thank you so much for taking the time to pass my post on to your friend...and please thank her for the advice. I'm going to be looking into her suggestions and I'll post an update on how things go.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br><br><br>
No prob. Anytime. Hope all goes well, and my dad and friend hope so, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ive considered adding beet pulp but havent been able to find it anywhere in town.<br><br><br><br>
I was actually going to begin introducing corn oil before all this happened but was unsure how much to add. Ive never had trouble keeping a horse fat its usually the other way around so this is somewhat new to me ha!
 
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